Kushiki-ryo (the law concerning documentary forms of state affairs, contained in the Yoro Code) (a p (公式令 (律令法))

"Kushiki-ryo" was one of compilations of ryo (administrative laws in the Ritsuryo law system). It specified various forms of official documents and enforcement regulations of laws and ordinances.. This Kushiki-ryo, consisting of eighty-nine articles, was set forth in the 21st section of the Yoro Ristsuryo Code of Japan.

There existed other ryo (administrative laws) of the same name in the Ritsuryo law system of the Sui and Tang dynasties in China. In the Japanese Ritsuryo law system, the Kushiki-ryo law was one of the oldest rules and regulations existed in Japan, as it has been so believed. The Kushiki-ryo had the highest number of provisions of all the laws in the Yoro-ryo.

As a part of the Yoro-ryo (Yoro Code), the Kushiki-ryo law contained the following specific Articles:
This Article "Shosho-siki" (forms of imperial rescript) was put here to specify documentary forms of shosho (imperial rescript). This Article "Chokushi-shiki" (forms of imperial order) was put here to specify documentary forms of chokushi (imperial order). This Article "Ronso-shiki" was put here to specify various documentary forms to seek imperial ratification of affairs proposed and decided by Daijo-kan, the Grand Council of State. This Article "Soji-shiki" was put here to specify some documentary forms to seek imperial ratification of affairs described in a letter called "ge" (a type of official document) submitted by shoshi (various officials). This Article "Binso-shiki" was put here to specify some documentary forms to seek imperial approval for daily governmental affairs and miscellaneous business in the imperial court, submitted by Shonagon (lesser councilor of state). This Article "Ryoji-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms to announce such orders as of Kotaishi (Crown Prince) and Sanko (grand mother, mother and legitimate consort of the Emperor). This Article "Kei-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms to seek approval of Kotaishi (Crown Prince) and Sanko (Emperor's grand mother, mother and legitimate consort) for the affairs decided by Togubo (Crown Prince's quarters) or Chugu-shiki (imperial offices for Sanko [Emperor's grand mother, mother and legitimate consort]). This Article "Sodan-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms in which Danjodai (Board of Censors) could accuse some imperial family members and government officials of crime toward the Emperor. The Article "Hieki-shiki (Shimo-shiki)" was put here to specify documentary forms of accompanying letters attached to any imperial order to be handed down to local officers. This Article "Hieki-shiki (Kami-shiki)" was put here to specify documentary forms of accompanying letters written by local officers and submitted to their superiors in Kyoto. This Article "Ge-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms of official documents called "ge" that were submitted by lower-ranked governmental officials to their superiors. This Article "I-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms of official documents called "i" that were exchanged between offices without hierarchical relationship. This Article "Fu-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms of official documents called "fu" that were written by superior officers to lower officials. This Article "Cho-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms of a personal letter called "cho", which was written by an officer who was ranked higher than sakan class to any other officer. This Article "Ji-shiki" was put here to specify forms of documents called "ji" that were written by lower-ranked officials or ordinary people and submitted to any government official. This Article "Chokuju-iki-shikijo" (a statutory law concerning imperial investiture) was put here to specify documentary forms for bestowal of ranks higher than goi (the Fifth Rank). This Article "Soju-iki-shikijo" (a statutory law concerning a kind of investiture called "soju" that was first proposed by ministers and finally approved by the Emperor) was put here to specify documentary forms for bestowing court ranks lower than rokui (the Sixth Rank) but higher than hachii (the Eighth Rank) within the category of "nai-i." This Article "Hanju-iki-shikijo" (a statutory law concerning a kind of investiture called "hanju") was put here to specify the documentary form of a letter of investiture called "hanju" that was bestowed by Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) to officials of hachii (the Eighth Rank) within the category of "gai-i" and to the officials of shoi (the Initial Rank). This Article "Keikai-shiki" was put here to provide general rules of auditing or inspection of affairs at administrative and financial offices. This Article "Shokoku-kaishiki" was put here to specify documentary forms for performing audits or inspections of affairs at kokufu (provincial government offices). This Article "Shoshi-kaishiki" was put here to specify documentary forms used for audits or inspections of affairs by shoshi (various government officers). This Article "Kasho-shiki" was put here to specify documentary forms of a pass or tally and procedures required for travellers to get through sekisho (checking stations). In this Article, the term "Heishutsu" meant a special wording which had always to be put at the top of each line in the description of any official documents, and the term "Oso" was quoted as the heishutsu word in this Article. The term "Osobi" (an honorific title given to the Emperor's grandmother who passed away) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Oko" (an honorific title given to the Emperor's father who passed away) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Obi" (an honorific title given to the deceased mother of the Emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Sendai" (an honorific title given to all former emperors including Daijo Teno, who had passed away) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Tenji" (an emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Teno" (an emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Odai" (an emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Heige" (his Majesty) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Daijo Teno" (an honorific title given to a retired emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. "Teno-no-shi" (the posthumous name or title of an emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Daio-daigo" (a title given to the grand mother of the Emperor) as well as the equivalent terms "Daio-daihi" and "Daio-daibunin" were quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu words as mentioned above. The term "Kodaigo" (a title for the mother of the Emperor) as well as the equivalent terms "Kodaihi" and "Kodai-bunin"were quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu words as mentioned above. The term "Ogo" (a title for a legitimate wife of the Emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. The term "Odai" (an emperor) was quoted in this Article as the same Heishutsu word as mentioned above. In this Article, the term "Ketsuji" meant another type of special wording which had always to be put behind one letter space in any official documents. This Article was put here to explain that hansetsu-koji (well-known ancient affairs) were excluded from the category of heishutsu and ketsuji, in the same manner as the phrases used in ordinary sentences and such cases as happened outside of Japan. This Article was put here to identify "Tenshi no Jinji" (Emperor's sacred emblems) with Jinji (a sacred jewel), Gyokuji (an imperial seal), and some official seals including the seal of Daijokan (the Grand Council of State). While all official documents had to be sealed, proper positions to be sealed on the documents were determined in this Article. Supply of ekiba and tenma (horses for transportation of official missions and posts) were referred to in this Article. This Article was put here to explain about ekirei (certificates of qualification to use ekiba and tenma) which were allotted to each provincial capital. This article "Shaga Junko" was put here to provide terms and conditions to be observed by officials in charge of guarding imperial palaces while the Emperor was on a trip, including proper treatment of ekirei. This Article "Kyu-zuishinpu" (supply of a tally or pass for a traveller to be carried on the body) provided conditions to issue or treat such tally or pass on an emergency case. This Article "Kokuyu-kyusoku" required reports to Daijokan (the Grand Council of State) after the fact of provincial emergencies, when emergent envoys were exchanged between some provinces under Ritsuryo system. This Article "Kokushi-shijin" (envoys of provincial governors) provided rules and regulations for a provincial governor to dispatch an envoy carrying a message called "ge" from a lower-ranked official to his superior.
This Article "Zaikyo-shoshi" (officials staying in Kyoto) described rules and regulations for government officials staying in Kyoto to use ekiba (horses to carry official travellers.)
This Article "Ekishi-zairo" (envoys on the road) stipulated provisions on how to deal with the case of an envoy who encountered with any trouble including sudden sickness while he was on his duty using ekiba (a horse for transportation of officer). This Article "Kokuyuzui" indicated case examples that any province had to report urgently to central government on their auspicious events by dispatching ekiba (horses for transportation of officials). This Article "Choshushi" (clerks conveying official documents made under the Ritsuryo System) provided rules and regulations on use of ekiba (horses to transport officials) by provincial governors who were summoned to the central government office. This Article "Naige-shoshi" (officials in charge of various affairs inside and outside of Kyoto) was put here to distinguish Shikijikan (a person with both an official rank and corresponding role) from Sankan (a person with an official rank but no corresponding role) and also Bunkan (civil officer) from Bukan (military officer). This Article "Kyokan" (officials staying in Kyoto) indicated distinction between kyokan (an official staying in Kyoto) and gekan (a local government official). This Article "Honi-ojo" (court ranks given through investiture) provided general rules about court ranking. This Article "Bunbu-shikiji" (civil officers, military officers, Shikijikan and Sankan) was put here to specify a seating order of attendants at any imperial event. This Article "Shoo-goi" (princes without imperial proclamation and the Fifth Rank) described conditions to treat imperial families and government officials who retired at the age-limit from government posts. This Article "Danjo-betsuchoku" prohibited officials of Danjo-dai (the Board of Censors) from acts of supervision or inspection of any other government official whose job, if any, he was engaged in beside his main job. This Article "Naige-kan" (government officials staying inside and outside of Kyoto) prescribed status of a government official who is engaged in two different jobs of different officers. This Article "Hyakkan-shukuchoku" (every official on a night duty) stipulated rules and regulations on performing night watch duty by an official. This Article "Kyokan-joge" (officials in Kyoto, calling on and leaving from the imperial court) specified their service hours to attend the court. This Article "Shochoku" (imperial rescript) was put here to mention about some case examples that allowed to command cancellation of leaves of any official. This Article "Juji" (receiving time) specified time limits for clerks to finish their paperwork on government affairs.
Suit (judicial procedure):
This Article sosho-tsuisetsu indicated some methods to deal with a litigant party who denies to answer a summons)
This Article "Chin-iken" (expression of opinion) set forth rules and regulations on preparing a letter of opinion in response to Emperor's inquiry, that would be enclosed in hermetically closed envelope and addressed direct to the Emperor. This Article "Kumon" (official documents) was to indicate particular styles of characters written in any official letter or document, such as kaisho (block script), omoji (capital letters) and other styles including numeric characters. This Article "Ryokyu-kanmotsu" specified procedures to distribute the tributes that had been paid as taxes and tithes to the government. This Article "Jui-ninkan/Kanji" (bestowal of ranks and appointment of posts/calls of names) set forth manners in which names of the government officers were called. This Article "Hoshochoku" (to report to the throne about once announced imperial rescript) was provided to explain about the cases where some grave defects were found in the original rescript at the stage of its enforcement). This Article "Ekishi-shikyo" (envoy's arrival in Kyoto) was made to set forth rules and regulations concerning envoys who had returned to Kyoto as well as savages who had become naturalized Japanese citizens. This Article "Shoshi-juchoku" (officials who received imperial orders directly from the Emperor) was written to set forth rules and regulations on corresponding methods to be taken by government officials who received imperial orders directly from the Emperor, not through the Ministry of Central Affairs. This Article "Jiyukyusoku" (urgent matters) was made to explain about the issue of imperial orders in the case of emergency. This Article "Kanjin-hanji" (a government official becoming aware of his own mistakes) was made to refer to the case that any government official became aware of his own clerical mistakes. This Article "Shochoku-sengyo" (an official's act to scrutinize imperial rescript before sending it to Daijokan [the Grand Councilor of State]) was made to refer to the case that any omissions or errors were found in the rescript at the stage of its enforcement. This Article "Shochoku-hanko" (an act of making imperial rescript publicly known and practiced) was made to describe procedures for notifying the rescript to the common people in local towns and villages). This Article "Geshi-shinkai" (a petition from a lower-ranking official) was made to refer to the case that any defect was found in a statement submitted to a superior officer or in a description given to a lower-ranking official. This Article "Shoshi-soji" (petitions of officials) was made to refer to the cases that allowed any official to submit his description direct to the Emperor not through Daijokan. This Article "Syusekiho" was made to indicate rules and regulations concerned to honin (joint and several guarantor in the public sector). This Article "Juchoku-shusshi" (an outgoing envoy conveying an imperial rescript he had received direct from the Emperor) was made to set forth rules and regulations concerning duties of such imperial envoy.
This Article "Kyokan-shusshi" (an outgoing envoy from Kyoto) was made to specify procedures for an official in Kyoto to follow when he was to leave Kyoto as an envoy and when he returned to Kyoto from his trip, as well as such methods as to send off official documents to the provinces)
This Article "Seki-hensho" was made to indicate rules and regulations regarding hensho (a report which each envoy was required to make and submit to his superior in Kyoto on the performance of his duties). This Article "Annari" was made to specify the duty to reserve and store drafts of the official documents and to make them listed). This Article "Bun-an" was made to specify storage periods of official documents.
This Article "Ninju-kani" (bestowal of court ranks) was made to describe an obligation to make a list of names and ranks concerned)
This Article "Jui-kokun" (bestowal of court ranks and conferment of orders) was made to describe procedures to submit a report to the Emperor on bestowal of court ranks and conferment of orders. This Article "Kanjin-fubo" (parents of an official) was made to prohibit dispatch of any government official as an envoy to a distant place when his parents were severely ill. This Article "Gekan-funin" (assumption of a new post as a local government official) was made to regulate accompanying family of an officer when he was starting a new job as a local government official. This Article "Kotei" (tour distance) was made to indicate a standard tour distance per day. This Article "Enpo-shuzoku" (strange customs in a distant country) was made to specify conditions to deal with the visit of foreigners to Japan.

Thus, the law Kushiki-ryo was made up of the above mentioned Articles, which covered not only rules and regulations on official documents and laws and ordinances that underpinned the management of then government, but also service regulations for government officials in charge of the said rules and regulations, as well as judicial procedures.